B.A.S.S. won’t release its official field for the Oct. 17-19 event until about a week before the tournament, so it is unclear exactly who will be launching on Barnett Reservoir.
Elite Series pros who do not qualify for the Bassmaster Classic through the Elite tour will be more motivated to come, since an automatic Classic berth comes with an Open victory — provided the winner entered all three Central Opens.
“But there were a lot of the Elite Series pros at the Red River Central Open in April who will have already fished their way into the Classic, so they would be more likely to skip Barnett,” said Elite Series pro Pete Ponds of Madison. “Anyone who didn’t make it through the Elites, however, would be likely to come and try to fish their way in.”
Elite Series pro Stephan Browning won the Red River tournament, and it appears that he won’t qualify for the Classic on the Elite tour. He would have to enter all three Central events to get the automatic berth, so he should be in Jackson.
Other Elite pros who fished at Shreveport include Ponds, who will fish anyway because Barnett is his home lake; Mike Iaconelli, James Niggemeyer, Keith Combs, Keith Poche, Dennis Tietje and Scott Rook.
Past champions at Barnett who fished at Red River include Roland Martin and Peter Daniels.